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WhatsApp, vignettes, online credit card payments: Changes for consumers from February

WhatsApp, vignettes, online credit card payments : Changes for consumers from February

The terms of use for WhatsApp, the deadline for submitting the 2019 tax return, or even the public office opening hours in Bonn during carnival – in February consumers face some changes. We provide an overview.

Change to WhatsApp's terms of use

WhatsApp changed its terms of use and privacy policy in January. Consumers were originally supposed to agree to these by 8th February to avoid their account being blocked. The changes in the terms of use allow WhatsApp, which belongs to Facebook, to exchange users' data with Facebook. However, the data may still not be used for personalised advertising purposes in European countries. The company has now postponed these changes until May 15. It is not yet clear whether accounts that do not agree to the new terms of use will continue to exist or whether they will be blocked.

Bonn SWB returns to regular timetable

From 1st February, SWB buses and trams will be running at regular service again and following the term-time schedule. The increased amount of services should lead to fewer infections on public transport in the long term, as the number of passengers will be balanced out.

Tax return for 2019

More time is available for completing tax returns for 2019 - if consumers have hired a tax advisor. On 28th January, the Bundestag decided to extend the submission deadline by six months. The tax return is now due by the end of July 2021 at the latest. However, this only applies if using a tax advisor. The law is intended to relieve the burden on law firms. Anyone who is obliged to file a tax return and has not engaged a tax advisor, has missed the deadline of 31st July 2020 for filing the 2019 tax return. The voluntary tax return for 2019 can be submitted until 2nd January 2024.

Online credit card payments

Stricter security checks for online credit card payments should have come into force in January, however the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) granted a further delay. Since 15th January, therefore, credit card payments of 250 euros or more can only be made using double authentication. This rule will be tightened in the coming month. From 15th February, "two-factor authentication" will be required for amounts of 150 euros or more.

Nursing staff numbers

From 1st February, new thresholds apply to nursing staff in hospital sections requiring more care. This is intended to ensure that patients receive the best treatment. A limit of ten patients per nurse/carer will be allowed in some cases for the following departments: internal medicine, paediatrics, general surgery and paediatric intensive care.

Public office opening hours during carnival

The NRW state government and carnival associations decided in September to forego major carnival events and parades. In connection with this, the city of Bonn has announced that the opening hours of its administrative offices will not be changed during carnival. This means that the offices will be open as normal on these days.

Annual vignettes expire

The annual toll-road stickers or vignettes for Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia are only valid until the end of January. From 1st February, consumers need to buy a new vignette, which will then be valid for 2021. The sticker must be clearly visible on the windscreen, otherwise drivers could face a fine.

(Original text: ga, Translation: Caroline Kusch)